You have to tip your cap to The Charlatans for continuing along the journey of their career. For many bands, two or three albums in less than five years marks a good run. For this batch of UK lads, they have been cranking out music for eighteen years. From the death of death of keyboardist Rob Collins to frontman Tim Burgess' own solo material, this band has been through plenty. They've put out some great hits, from "The Only One I Know" and "Werido" to "Tellin' Stories" and "North Country Boy," this is a band with some serious British pop history, and a band that has been a favorite of mine for many years. So for them to put out a solid album, especially after the mediocre dub-fest Simpatico, I am one truly happy Anglophile right now.
For starters, the new album doesn't sound like any recent Charlatans material, which is actually quite a good thing. In fact, if I wasn't paying close attention, I would have thought that New Order had reformed but took a slightly more rock approach to their music. There are hints of electronica in their pop, but they haven't abandoned their rock roots entirely. This is an interesting combination of different eras from the Charlatans, which should please fans of Between 10th & 11th as well as Tellin' Stories.
You Cross My Path begins with a bit of organ on "Oh! Vanity," a pleasing and familiar sound for any Charlatans fan. The track sounds completely comfortable and relaxed, like Burgess and his bandmates have rediscovered their groove. That New Order vibe that I mentioned earlier first pops up on "Bad Days," which has a Hooky-bass line that fits quite nicely. The same goes for "Mis-takes," another outstanding pop track that sounds like a band who is reinvigorated and ready for another stab at world domination.
Although I had already heard the single "You Cross My Path," it was nice to hear it in the context of the rest of the album. It adds a bit of bite to the album, breaking up some of the smoother pop tracks from other parts of the LP. "Missing Beats (Of A Generation)" keeps the tempo up, bringing back that classic Charlatans organ that takes it to a whole different level.
I will confess that I have only listened to You Cross My Path a handful of times, so my opinions on this album could be riding high on the excitement of hearing the new tunes. One thing that I an confidently say is that The Charlatans have gone back to what they do best. Burgess has most definitely written some of his best songs in years, backed by music that is no bullshit. If anybody was wondering if they are still relevant in 2008, this album should squash any doubters.
The entire album is currently available for free download at XFM, so go check it out for yourself!